Why we’re self-publishing a book

“I started Women Talk Design in 2013 because I was tired of conference organizers saying, “There aren’t any female speakers who are (able to talk about this topic/available/any good/insert excuse here.). I wanted to make a site that would take away excuses, and make it easy for organizers to find women speakers, check out their speaking abilities and contact them.” – Christina Wodtke, founder of Women Talk Design

That’s how Women Talk Design began – as a directory of speakers. You can read more about it in an interview with our founder here.

We’ve evolved a lot since then. Christina ran a GoFundMe campaign in 2017 to provide design internships to two women. In their research, Jennifer & Melissa uncovered many more reasons why women weren’t on stage – it wasn’t just because organizers couldn’t find them. 

That same year, Danielle Barnes (our CEO) joined the company. She took these findings, and developed Women Talk Design into a social enterprise that focuses on amplifying the voices of women and nonbinary folks – by acknowledging the barriers that stand in the way, and offering training, community, and support to encourage women and nonbinary folks to speak up anyway. 

We were founded with support from the community coming together around that first GoFundMe campaign. We’ve grown through the community our speakers have built. And we plan to take this next step of publishing a book as a community. 

That means:

  • Self-publishing with the help of designers, editors, lawyers, and countless others who share their expertise with us
  • Funding through a Kickstarter campaign supported by everyone who believes this book needs to exist
  • Creating the book itself with contributions from dozens of speakers around the world who offer their stories and advice for sharing your ideas.

We’re also self-publishing to show our community what’s possible. We’re going to share every step along the way so that anyone out there considering writing their own book sees – and knows – that they have the support of us and our community behind them.

Why a book?

One of the main reasons we’re turning our hallmark public speaking program, Present Yourself, into a book is that we believe the message, the stories, and the lessons of the program need to reach more people.

We’ve greeted hundreds of speakers at our workshops and online courses and we’ve heard over and over again how impactful the material has been for them (just check out this alumna interview…and this one…and this one). While not everyone can commit to a several-week intensive program (and not everyone learns best that way), a book can be more accessible*. 

*We have a buy-one-give-one program to offer free books to those who can use support. We also have plans to create an audiobook and eventually translate the book into as many languages as possible.

Similarly, not everyone is ready to dive into a course. Most speakers who have signed up for our 8-week intensive knew they wanted to speak in some form. But what about those who have only just begun to consider sharing their voice? What if they’re still just daydreaming about it? Now, they’ll have this book. They can sit with it and savor it and work through each stage at their own pace.

We’re not just expanding our audience with this new format – we’re also bringing in new contributors. We are so lucky to have a dozen speakers share their stories, expertise, and advice in our Present Yourself course. Several of those speakers will be featured in the book, along with some new voices! 

In short, we want to see more women and nonbinary folks speaking up and sharing their ideas – so we’re publishing a book to help them get there.

Help support our work and get an early copy of the book by contributing to our Kickstarter campaign before December 27th.

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